by Melodie Johnson Howe
I’m hanging up my blogging shoes after this last column for Criminal Brief. Leigh very kindly asked if I would guest blog at the new Sleuth Sayers. Guys, could you come with up a name that doesn’t make me sound like Daffy Duck when I pronounce it? By the way, I often quote Daffy. In the midst of a chase scene in one of his cartoons he abruptly stops, stares at the audience, and says with his famous lisp, “This doesn’t make sense and neither do I.” Then he begins to run for his life again. I often feel like Daffy Duck. But I digress. I intended to talk about our blog.
Criminal Brief is neither. It isn’t criminal. It’s thoughtful, funny, erudite, curmudgeonly and simply wonderful. And it isn’t Brief. It ran for four and a half years. That’s a pretty good run.
When James asked me to come aboard, my first inclination was not to do it. I’m a slow writer. And time is fast. So I thought I couldn’t possibly write a column a week. But then I began to think about all the things I wanted to say. And most of them didn’t have anything to do with the short story.
I wanted to write about what was bothering me, confounding me. I wanted to get down on paper what I observed in my daily life. Also I had never written about my acting career. And then there was my marriage. I wanted to capture the dialogue and the relationship between a husband and wife, who happened to be two creative people. In other words I wanted to explore; open my horizons as a writer. So I told James I would be glad to do it if I could write about anything I wanted and he agreed. And a whole new world opened up to me.
It never occurred to me I would develop friendships on the Internet. Janice and Deborah are the only two of our comrades in crime I haven’t met in person. But I feel I know these two women and would like to sit down and have cup of coffee with them. How about a G & T? And when I met the others in person I felt as if we’d been friends for a long time; and that’s because we got know each other through our writings first. The point of a writer is to connect with readers. And we were readers of each other’s columns.
Criminal Brief has also allowed me to share thoughts with the likes of Jon Breen, David Dean, Stephen Ross, and other writers I admire. And last but not least are the CB readers who have supported us with their vast knowledge, depth, and wicked humor.
My favorite moment in CB history was creating the virtual Criminal Brief Headquarters. Not only was it fun to write but also it was hilarious. And our virtual offices became skewered metaphors for each of us.
We had the longest book signing in history. I think it took us a year to get that damn anthology of short stores to our prizewinner ABA. I’m sure Leigh will correct me, but I think it all started to go wrong when he lost the book. We never had another contest after that.
James deserves a big CB Medal and a smoochy kiss for creating this blog in the first place and then keeping it going. We were not an easy group to herd. So it is with fond memories and love that I will watch Criminal Brief sink into the ether and disappear. She was yar.